Pic of Spiced cucumber

Spiced cucumber

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Spiced cucumber

Starter Serves 6 3h 15 min
This is a great favourite among chilli lovers. You can make it well in advance and let the flavour develops as it stands. Beware, though, that the longer you leave it the hotter the chilli flavour becomes.


  • 3 small or 2 large cucumbers
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp Chinese rice vinegar or 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 6 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp groundnut or vegetable oil
  • 3-6 dried red chillies (according to taste), de-seeded and cut into pieces


Prep time: 3h
Cooking time: 15 min
  • Step 1

    Cut the cucumbers lengthwise into quarters. Scoop out and discard the seeds, then slice the cucumber across into 2cm pieces.
  • Step 2

    Put them into a clean, grease-free bowl, sprinkle with the salt and stir well. Leave to stand at room temperature for 2-3 hours. During this time, the moisture will be drawn out from the cucumbers.
  • Step 3

    Drain the cucumbers, then squeeze out excess moisture either by hand or in a tea towel or a salad spinner. Transfer to a clean bowl, add the vinegar and sugar and mix well.
  • Step 4

    Heat both the oils in a small saucepan until they just starting to smoke.
  • Step 5

    Remove the pan from the heat and wait for a few seconds until the smoke has disappeared before adding the chillies - otherwise they will burn.
  • Step 6

    Let the chillies sizzle in the oil, then tip them into the bowl with the cucumber and mix well.
  • Step 7

    Leave to stand for at least 6 hours or overnight in the fridge. Serve as an accompaniment, or as a canapé with cocktail sticks for spearing the pieces.

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